Sleeping Among Beasts – An Uneasy Truce
Sleeping Among Beasts
I saw it enter my tent.
I don’t really mind sleeping among beasts, the ones often encountered while camping. There are some though that are harder to get along with. This one, like many other flying, crawling, creeping, scurrying and even hopping creatures, including me, was trying to find shelter from the incessant rain which had been drumming noisily on the taut flysheet of my tent for most of the day. In fact, it has been raining for several days and it’s been easier to stay inside as much as possible and get on with some writing and website stuff to avoid bringing in the wetness.
For the past fortnight I have been staying in a place called Callis Bridge, between Hebden Bridge and Todmorden in West Yorkshire. The longer you stay in a place the more you become familiar with the other creatures whose space you have squatted. They also become more familiar with you. Two types of animal in particular have become increasingly at ease in my presence: A pair of blackbirds and a family of shrews.
My favourite English avian: Each morning I sit and watch the blackbirds grub around near my tent, catching and devouring worms and they forage ever closer.
The shrews are living in, under and around the tent and are getting really familiar with me. Yesterday, one of them ran up the outside of my sleeping bag while I was sitting up typing on my laptop and stood on my arm sniffing the air with its wriggly nose. A while later, after I had filmed it scurrying over the outside of the inner tent, it climbed onto me and nudged my elbow a couple of times from below. Have a look at a short clip HERE.
Did you know…?
Shrews are not rodents and are more closely related to the mole. The common shrew uses echolocation to help build a picture of its surroundings. Some shrews are venomous. Have a look at the Wiki HERE.
Last night, as I prepared myself for bed, the rain became particularly intense and a small, tired wasp flew into the tent and landed on me before taking off and blundering around, trying to find a quiet spot for itself. I observed it for a time and wondered what I was going to do about it, torn between understanding its plight and not wishing to spend the night with it in my inner tent. Eventually I lost sight of it and began a ten minute repetitive but ultimately fruitless search.
An uneasy truce
I knew it was in there but declared an uneasy truce and carefully slipped into my bag liner and sleeping bag before finally turning off the light.
Awaking before dawn, as is often the case, answering a call of nature which necessitated me leaving the tent and venturing outside, neatly dodging the almost incessant rain. I was just sliding back into bed when the wasp appeared and dropped onto my bare leg from somewhere inside the folds of the sleeping bag.
So that is how I came to share my bed with a wasp and survived. We both did. Afterwards, I asked it politely to leave and it duly obliged.
I daresay that I’ll be sleeping with many more beasts before this gig is up.